Imagine 630 students ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade gathering in one location. Now imagine these youths interacting with each other, engaging in science as they experiment with hands-on activities and observing science in real life.
This was the scene of the fifth annual Imagine Now STEAM and Nebraska Extension (I.N.S.A.N.E.) science event earlier this month at the Madison County Fairgrounds in Madison.
Schools from five counties attended, including Wisner-Pilger, Norfolk Catholic, Osmond, Newman Grove, Wausa, St. John in Battle Creek, Zion Lutheran in Pierce, Christ Lutheran in Norfolk and St. Leonard in Madison. Those in attendance from the Norfolk Public School District were Grant Elementary, Jefferson Elementary and Lincoln-Montessori.
The objective of I.N.S.A.N.E. Science Day is to spark an interest in young people to pursue studies and careers in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) while sharing the importance of science and its application among people in our daily lives.
Throughout each day, students rotated through hands-on experiences designed to instill curiosity and critical thinking. Focused sessions taught by Nebraska Extension staff featured Engineering a Bear Chair, where students applied engineering principles to design a chair out of simple classroom materials that would hold up a small stuffed animal.
In the Snap Circuits unit, students worked in groups to create electrical circuits that turned on lights or music. Students explored states of matter in a group experiment called Does Soap Float.
In addition, grades K-3 explored careers in science and met author and Nebraska Extension educator Deb Weiztenkamp. Each student received a copy of her newest book “Growing a Dream.”
The featured session of the I.N.S.A.N.E. Science Day was the portable planetarium, with special guest Deb Miller of the Edgerton Explorit Center.
Miller was also the keynote speaker and furthered the lesson about states of matter with her presentation titled Arctic Blast. Youth were in awe of the experiments she conducted with dry ice and water and liquid nitrogen.
This I.N.S.A.N.E. Science Day program is a part of the Madison County 4-H School Enrichment curriculum hosted by Nebraska Extension in Madison County.
For more information about 4-H School Enrichment programs in Madison County, visit madison.unl.edu or call the Nebraska Extension in Madison County at 402-370-4040.